A few weeks back we posted an article to TENT’s journal having been contacted by a very enthusiastic (if – by most people’s standards – slightly bonkers) TENT supporter Fred Chapman.
Why bonkers? Well, Fred got in touch to say that he was going to be raising money for TENT by doing a cross-country run and naturally we were thrilled to have been selected as Fred’s charity. But when he told us he’d be running 118.7 miles over one week all the while carrying all his own gear, we had to question his sanity just a little.
Since then, we’ve kept up with Fred on the lead up to his challenge and are very excited to report that he completed the 118.7 mile journey from Bournemouth to London, arriving just about in one piece.
Last week, we caught up with Fred to find out about the highlights of the challenge and what drove him to do it in the first place.
He told us that he had “always wanted to do something a bit unique as well as challenging and by forging my own route and by carrying my own gear, the challenge allowed me to do that”. For him, the route was ideal as his family home is near Bournemouth but he now lives in London.
When we asked Fred what was his most convincing argument for encouraging people to donate, we were hoping he might have said something like “explaining the impact of natural climate solutions like reforestation and rewilding on reversing the climate crisis”. But in hindsight, as someone who has put themselves through such a test of endurance, perhaps Fred’s response for most convincing argument being “the thought of watching me suffer I think” makes sense. Fred, we think Paul should have words with your friends…
When we last spoke to Fred before the challenge he was very complimentary about TENT, saying that the organisation “provides me with hope that there may be a future for the wild world, that it might not become a total human failure”.
Even having endured the pretty gruelling task of plodding through approximately 23 miles of British countryside a day for 5 days straight, he was remarkably upbeat about his reasons for choosing to support TENT:
“The only thing our generation will be remembered for is the way it reacted to the actions of our parents and grandparents. Protecting and conserving the little nature reserves we have left in the world is the only thing that matters now. As David Attenborough says, we have no more right to be here than any other animal. The European Nature Trust is based around a cause I believe in.”
The importance of protecting and conserving what we have in the way of wild places and wilderness on our own doorstep is a concept that TENT is only too familiar with. We wanted to know if Fred had managed to enjoy any of the areas of natural beauty he was passing through (when he wasn’t covered in stinging nettle rashes, or taping up blistered feet that is).
“The New Forest, South Downs – and of course the grandeur of Central London – are amazing, but the Meon Valley is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen in the UK.”
As we already know him to be a person who appreciates nature and regularly finds ways of “getting lost” in it, we wanted to ask Fred one final question about what some of the better, simpler ways people can connect to nature are. Rather whimsically, he responded:
“To go and do something different. To get out of the city, even for a weekend and do anything that isn’t sitting on your a***.” We’ll take that.
We’re very honoured that Fred chose to support TENT, and we hope that in completing his challenge we haven’t played a part in any newfound dislike for running or certain varieties of stinging plant…
Fred has raised well over £1,000 for TENT, an incredible feat. You can still show your support for his incredible hard work by donating via his JustGiving page.
100% of all donations to TENT go directly to one of Europe’s leading conservation projects – the entirety of each donation is used in the protection and restoration of European wilderness and wildlife.